Khronos Group releases OpenGL 3.3, 4.0 specifications

The Khronos Group took advantage of the ongoing Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to announce the release of version 4.0 of the OpenGL specification. This latest incarnation of the cross-platform API promises greater programming flexibility, better graphics quality, and the ability to tap all the goodness lurking in the latest generation of GPUs. The press release lists the following enhancements available in OpenGL 4.0:

  • two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU
  • per-sample fragment shaders and programmable fragment shader input positions for increased rendering quality and anti-aliasing flexibility
  • drawing of data generated by OpenGL, or external APIs such as OpenCL, without CPU intervention
  • shader subroutines for significantly increased programming flexibility
  • separation of texture state and texture data through the addition of a new object type called sampler objects
  • 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations and inputs/outputs for increased rendering accuracy and quality
  • performance improvements, including instanced geometry shaders, instanced arrays, and a new timer query

In addition to OpenGL 4.0, the Khronos Group has also released an OpenGL 3.3 specification designed for older GPUs that lack the features necessary to fully support the 4.0 spec. Both specifications can be downloaded in their entirety from the OpenGL registry.

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